The effect of pasture on the stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) and miRNA 103 expression was evaluated on dairy goats divided into two homogeneous groups (G, grazing, and S, stable). Group S was housed in a stall and received alfalfa hay as forage, while group G was led to pasture. The goats of both the groups received the same amount of concentrate. Milk yield did not differ statistically between the groups. Group G showed significantly higher fat (4.10% vs. 2.94%, p < 0.01) and protein percentage (3.43% vs. 3.25%; p < 0.05) than group S. Among milk fatty acids, group S showed significantly higher levels of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and lower values of mono-unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). The percentages of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) were not different between groups even if pasture significantly affected the percentages of C18:3 and total omega 3. In group G, total CLAs were twice than in group S (0.646% vs. 0.311%; p < 0.01) mainly due to the differences in CLA cis9 trans 11 (0.623% vs. 0.304%; p < 0.01). Milk total CLA in grazing group was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in August according to the highest value of both linoleic and α-linolenic acids in the pasture. In grazing animals, SCD expression decreased from April to June, increased in July and decreased again in August, while it was almost unvaried along the trial in group S. By contrast, the expression of miRNA 103 showed a similar trend for both groups, decreasing from April to June, increasing in July and falling down in August. To our knowledge, this is the first observation of the effects of pasture on miRNA expression in milk from ruminant species.
Keywords: CLA; goat; miRNA; stearoyl-CoA desaturase.